Sunday, 23 April 2017

How do I know If I am a Christian?

We have amazing rest and peace in knowing the debt of our sin has been paid. There are plenty of things I sometimes lie awake at night worrying about, but my eternal salvation is not one of them. Jesus says it, and I trust it.

Source: Audrey Mabley
If your life is anything like mine it’s full of activities, appointments, and a never-ending to-do list. Yet underneath these things, we feel something more — a deeper longing for a peace and greater purpose. Surely life is about more than rushing from activity to activity? In their search for peace and a greater purpose, sometimes people have heard of God and Jesus from the Bible but aren’t sure where to begin, what Christianity is or what it means to be a Christian. Perhaps you have experience with family members who are Christian or you visited a church in the past. Maybe you attend a church now but you question if what your church teaches is Christian. You actually start to wonder: ‘how do I know if I am a Christian’?

Who Are Christians? - People sometimes assume that being a Christian means; going to church, reading the Bible and being a good person, however, whilst all of those activities are important to a Christian life, none of those are what makes a person a Christian. In Acts 16:25-28, which takes place after Jesus’ life on earth, His followers Paul and Silas were in prison. They were singing hymns and praising God despite their awful circumstances, then suddenly there was a huge earthquake causing their chains to be broken. When the jailer realized, his prisoners were about to escape, he prepared to kill himself but Paul and Silas cried out to him, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here’. This is what happened next in Acts 16:30-31 ‘Then he (the jailer) brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household’.  This Bible account gives a clear answer to the question, ‘What should a person do to be saved’? The answer is the one given by Paul and Silas; ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’.

Source: Pinterest
What did Jesus do for us? - Jesus was a man who lived over 2,000 years ago in what is now modern-day Israel. Jesus was fully man and is also fully God. He lived a perfect life then suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin — my sin, your sin, and the sins of everyone who has ever lived in the world. Amen. After three days Jesus rose from the dead (this is celebrated at Easter). Jesus ascended into heaven and reigns in heaven with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. God is also present among all believers because of the work of the Holy Spirit who gives Christians faith and we can trust God for salvation after we die.

What do Christians believe? - Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word. Christians however do not believe the Bible contains the Word of God, but that the Bible is the Word of God. This means that Christians do not believe that some parts of the Bible are true and some parts are untrue, but rather we believe that the whole Bible is true. Christians also believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the He is part of the Trinity, which is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Christians we worship all parts of the Trinity as equally one God.

Following Jesus -  While Jesus was on earth He was the greatest teacher, and Christians follow the teachings of Jesus. However, it is important to make a strong point of clarification here; many times, when you ask people; ‘What does it mean to be a Christian’? they will say, 'I’m a Christian because I try to be a good person’. A Christian however is someone who trusts in Jesus as his Saviour and trying to be a good person will never get you into heaven. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. It is sin that separates us from God. God is perfect, and when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, it is our sin that separated us from God (Genesis 3). It is only because of the saving work of Jesus that we are able to find salvation. The good works of a Christian life are important and Jesus spoke of them often. Other places in the Bible explain how a Christian is supposed to live, but the distinction is that these works are not to earn salvation. One of the clearest Bible passages about the role of good works in the Christian life can be found in Ephesians 2:8-10 ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them’. This makes Christianity different from all other religions, which usually teach that people need to work to earn salvation by their own efforts. Christians trust that salvation is a free gift from God.

Peaceful Assurance - People often wonder, ‘how can I know for sure that I am a Christian? I believe, but I have doubts. How do I know for sure I’ll go to heaven when I die? One example is the gift of incredible, life-giving peace, a peace that goes far beyond anything we can humanly understand; Philippians 4:7 ‘And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’. Any religion or system that attempts to rely on good works or our own self-righteousness, can and will leave us feeling doubtful, because none of us can be good enough for God. We will forever attempt to make amends, try harder, and hope for the best. This is not the case with Jesus! We have amazing rest and peace in knowing the debt of our sin has been paid. There are plenty of things I sometimes lie awake at night worrying about, but my eternal salvation is not one of them. Jesus says it, and I trust it.

The most important question - When Jesus was on earth, He had the following conversation with his disciples; Mark 8:27-29 ‘Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, Who do people say I am? They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets. But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am? Peter answered, You are the Messiah’. The disciples were responding to the local town gossip. Some people said Jesus was John the Baptist (who had already been beheaded at this point — so in other words, was Jesus a ghost?), some people said Jesus was Elijah (a prophet of importance, believed to impart wisdom in Jewish tradition), who had come back to earth as foretold, and some people said Jesus was a new prophet. Then Jesus asked the disciples the most important question, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ This is the same question Jesus is asking you and I today and is the most important question you will ever answer in your life, because the answer will determine how you spend eternity. Peter’s answer was an example for us because he proclaimed with great faith; ‘You are the Christ’.

When we say, ‘Jesus is the Christ’, we are also saying that He is ‘the anointed one’ and ‘the King chosen by God’. The titles of ‘Christ’ and ‘Messiah’ are therefore meaningful ones because we see the whole Bible, and in fact all of history, coming together in the person of Jesus. The Bible is a collection of books written by different people yet each book was divinely inspired by God. The books of the New Testament tell of Jesus’s life and the beginning of the church on earth. The books of the Old Testament point to the Saviour, or Messiah, who is to come. Here we see Jesus as the fulfilment of that promise. Christians trust in Jesus as the Messiah, both the King and Ruler of the world and the King of their lives. Amen

This article has been published with the kind permission of the author. You can find out a little more about Sara and her ministry by visiting her website at the following (Link)


Author: Sara Borgstede

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Step inside the empty tomb

We miss so much when we don’t enter fully into God’s marvelous works. The people who get most from the Christian life are those who ‘step inside’. Christianity is not a faith for ‘peepers’ – Get Inside!

Source: Connie York - blogger
John Chapter 20 records the details of the first Easter morning marathon. Mary Magdalene, who was first to reach the tomb of Jesus, came ‘running’ to Simon Peter and John, having seen the stone removed from the grave and announced news of ‘Removal’ not Resurrection. The first message from the empty tomb was false – someone had nicked the corpse! There was no conspiracy theory here - the first Easter Sunday hunt was for a corpse! Then we meet the next two runners with John getting to the tomb before Simon Peter. Imagine winning the race but staying outside the tomb. ‘He bent over and looked in… but did not go in’. John was a ‘peeper’ which typifies many believers today who ‘peep’ into the scriptures, ‘peep’ into worship, ‘peep’ into service, ‘peep’ into prayer and ‘peep’ into commitment. But then in John 20:6, Simon Peter arrives and ‘went into the tomb’; ‘Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there’. He went past the ‘peeper’ and saw more! Then finally in John 20:8, John ‘also went inside’; ‘Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed’

Source: Apologetics.com
We miss so much when we don’t enter fully into God’s marvelous works. The title of a Beatles song ‘Step inside love’ comes to mind here: The people who get most from the Christian life are those who ‘step inside’. Christianity is not a faith for ‘peepers’ – Get Inside! In this wonderful Easter week ‘Step inside’ and spend some time in the empty tomb and…

Smell the Fragrance: There’s no smell of death, just the strips of linen loaded with 34 kilos of spices filling the air with beautiful fragrance.

See the grave clothes: Take a good look and see how they’re arranged. A body has obviously passed through them, they are undisturbed and unoccupied!

Breathe in the air of Resurrection: The breath of the risen Jesus is in that empty grave, let it fill your lungs and thrill your heart!

Soak up the truth: Step inside and revel in the truth that the tomb is empty not because of removal but because of RESURRECTION!

That truth means: Jesus IS the Son of God; Your sin HAVE been paid for; The Scriptures ARE true; Satan IS defeated; Death HAS been conquered and Jesus WILL come again!!! Amen

STEP INSIDE! Easter is not about a missing corpse but about a RISEN SAVIOUR! Hallelujah.

He’s ALIVE – to answer your prayers
He’s ALIVE – to heal your body
He’s ALIVE – to fulfil your destiny
He’s ALIVE – to banish your fears
He’s ALIVE – to meet your needs
He’s ALIVE – to build His Church

Heaven invites us; ‘Come and see’, or to STEP INSIDE LOVE!  Nine times Jesus gave us an ‘EMPTY’ promise and on that first Easter Sunday He delivered it in style!

That’s my Jesus!


Author: Alan Hewitt - AOG UK National Leadership Team  

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Who am I?

God will never disown you, desert you, dump you, because you cost too much! His love doesn’t increase when you’re more spiritual or decrease when you’re distant!

Source: Cherie Burbach
The Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:1 ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ Read that again and note the ‘we’! If that doesn’t make you say ‘wow!’ you need to keep reading it until it does!

So many Christians live a lifetime without discovering who they really are. It’s so tragic because a victorious Christian life actually depends on it! Christians are first and foremost Children, we are not merely supporters, followers, devotees, comrades, workers, ministers, labourers……We are children of God!. God is not merely building a workforce but a family and you’ll never function properly unless you understand that it’s from the position of being a child. Adults can easily lose the wonder of what it means to be a child! Brennan Manning wrote ‘The two pivotal words in the teaching of Jesus are both ‘A’ words – Amen & Abba’.

Source: Crosspoint Church Online
When Jesus spoke of His Father as ‘Abba’ (a colloquial form of address used by Jewish children to their father) He opened up possibilities previously unknown, the new dawn of incredible generosity and blessing. Romans 8:15 states; ‘By Him, WE cry, ABBA Father’. In no world religion, would it be thinkable that a human being could ever call ALMIGHTY GOD, ‘Daddy’!  Receiving Jesus – the One & Only – gives US the power to call God – ‘Daddy’! I love how Max Lucado describes this blessing: ‘The Christ of the galaxies is the Christ of your Monday mornings. You have a Friend in high places. Does the child of Arnold Schwarznegger worry about tight pickle jars? Does the son of Nike founder Phil Knight sweat about a broken shoelace or trainer? If the daughter of Bill Gates can't turn on her computer, does she panic! No, neither should you, your God has walked your streets, He knows your name, He loves you more than you'll ever know’. You’re not merely a friend of God; you're a Child of God! We are to live in His embrace and be eternally secure in His love. This fact should take our breath away – that ‘in Christ’ we are accepted by God just as much as Jesus is!!!

Why is this so important to understand? Because it’s only when you know how much God loves you that you can really begin to love God. 1 John 4:19 ‘We love Him because He first loved us’. God will never disown you, desert you, dump you, because you cost too much! His love doesn’t increase when you’re more spiritual or decrease when you’re distant! One of hardest things is to accept that you are an object of God’s delight.

Jesus is not a subject; He’s not something you can say, ‘I get that, what's next?’ - well, there is no next! He is the ultimate! We can never move on from Jesus, there is nothing else worth moving on to! Let your thoughts today focus on the truth that you through Christ are a child of a Heavenly Father who is ‘crazed and drunk’ with love for YOU!


Author: Alan Hewitt - AOG UK National Leadership Team 

May God bless and enrich your life


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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Cast your cares on the Lord

All of us have things that we need to deal with in our lives, but ignoring them, holding onto them or even trying to run away from them will certainly not resolve them

Source: Prophetic Light
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life was so simple that we didn’t experience difficulties, hardship, sorrow, disappointment, grief, sadness and all of the other things that challenge us as part of our day to day lives? God knew that we would experience all of these things, however in His Word He shows us what we should do at these times; Psalms 55:22 ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken’ and 1 Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’, Amen. Jesus, whilst talking to His disciples just before He was arrested told them that they too would experience troubles; John 16:33 ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’. Notice that Jesus does not say ‘if you have trouble’, but, ‘you will have trouble’. If we expect the World to be anything but challenging in our lives then we would be living in false hope because, the Word of God clearly tells us to expect these situations and circumstances throughout our lives.

So, we accept that we are going to encounter difficult times in our lives however it is the manner in which we deal with them which will determine what impact we allow them to have on our lives. Sometimes we may let things consume our thoughts and to dominate our lives, to a point that other parts of our lives become affected such as relationships with family and friends, work, sleep, our health etc. We hold onto things that have happened in the past and just won’t let them go, things that are denying our freedom to be able to move on. Why do we continually hold onto things that only serve to prolong our pain? Why do we allow our minds to be consumed with things from the past that make us unhappy, anxious, worried, frightened and often lead to us feeling unwell? Why do we keep living in the past, when the past is where it actually belongs? All of these are distractions which take away our freedom to love, serve and glorify our Father.

Source: Year 27
All of us have things that we need to deal with in our lives, but ignoring them, holding onto them or even trying to run away from them will certainly not resolve them. We could run to the other side of the World to try and outrun our problems however the reality of this is that the only thing that would change is the destination. We may enjoy our new destination for a few days or weeks but it is only a matter of time before whatever it is we are trying to run away from re-emerges back into our lives.

Last year my wife and I went on holiday to Malta and on the return journey, at the airport check-in counter, we were politely informed that we had very slightly exceeded the excess baggage limit. How this happened, I have no idea however the young lady behind the counter suggested that we should take some items out of our suitcase and put them in our hand luggage. I could not see how this would be of any benefit whatsoever as effectively we would be taking exactly the same weight onto the plane, but that is a story for another day!  My wife and I proceeded to root through our suitcase, in full view of a very excited queue behind us (what other excitement can there be standing in a check-in queue?), and we tried to ‘discreetly’ transfer some items from our suitcase into our hand luggage. I can’t speak for my wife but I was quite embarrassed and it was not the greatest moment of my life.

In hindsight, the whole event in the airport made me think about ‘excess baggage’, not in relation to luggage but more about the type of baggage that we carry around inside us. Image a scenario where we turn up at an airport check-in, where no suitcases or other luggage allowed, however all of the ‘baggage’ that we are carrying inside is going to be put through an airport scanner and displayed on a screen behind the counter for everyone to see, and weighed. Firstly, how embarrassing would that be and secondly with all of that extra weight it is unlikely that the plane would ever be able to get off the ground! This is exactly the problem that we can create in our lives. We weigh ourselves down so heavily with all of the burdens of our lives, especially the past, that we never give ourselves the chance to ‘fly’ or move on. If, on the other hand we were to hand our situations onto Jesus and allow Him to deal with it then we will find rest; Matthew 11:28-30 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’. Amen.

You can listen to the wonderful hymn, ‘And can it be’, written by Charles Wesley, at the end of this article. The words are amazing particularly where we sing ‘My chains fell off my heart was free, I rose went forth to follow thee’ and ‘Bold I approach th' eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own’. In Christ, let us be bold and confident to know that ‘we are the head and not the tail' (Deuteronomy 28:13) and ‘we are more than conquerors’ (Romans 8:37), we can release the chains of the past that imprison us in the present and deny our future and claim back freedom in our lives.  We need to take responsibility ourselves and not look at others, that is between them and God. We need to leave the past where it belongs, we need to look forward rather than back and only then will our chains fall off and our hearts will be free so that we can rise, go forth and follow thee. We can then, with confidence, boldly approach the eternal throne and claim our crown through Christ our own. Amen.


Author: Gary O’Neill

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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Influencing others - The impact of a faithful Pastor

Jesus’s life and example influenced and continues to influence others it is worth remembering that the things that we do, and the things that we say, also influence others.

Source: Faith and Health Connection
I was 6 years old and it was 1949, just a few years after the end of the Second World War. It started as a very ordinary day. I’d been down town to Tamworth with my mum doing a collection for the Salvation Army self-denial week however, things were about to change. On the way home when we got to the bottom of the hill where we lived I found that I couldn’t walk any further. When my mum realised that I wasn’t just playing up she gave me a piggyback all the rest of the way home. Later when were home, I used the potty and noticed that I was passing blood, much to my parents’ dismay. They called for the doctor and he thought I had got meningitis so he called for an ambulance. At the time we lived in a row of cottages with a shared courtyard and the ambulance pulled up right into the yard. I remember crying as the ambulance men came in to take me to the hospital and I remember my friends coming into the yard to wave me off which would be the last I saw of them for 10 months. Initially I was taken into Tamworth General Hospital and I was there for 2 months, after which a specialist from West Bromwich (the big hospital) came to see me and decided to move me to his hospital; were I was treated for the next 8 months.

I guess many of you would have seen pictures of the old-fashioned cots with the old metal bars; well I was in one of those for a while. At the time everything was scarce but I knew that God was with me, He was always with me. I was very blessed to have praying parents, family and church and I believe today that it was their prayers that bought me through. I was found to have Nephritis (a disease of the kidneys) and I was in the big hospital for a while when they took me on a trolley to see the doctor. I’ll never forget it, as this was the first black man I had ever seen and he was the doctor that examined me for my tonsils. He had a big light on his head and he said ‘right we’ve got to get these out’. I think it was the same day that they took my tonsils out because they discovered that it was the poisoned tonsils that were affecting my kidneys. They realized that they hadn’t asked permission from my mum and dad so they sent a policeman to my home. You can imagine my mum and dads thoughts as they saw the policeman at the door - they thought the worst; but he’d only come to tell them that I’d had my tonsils out without their permission. It must have been quite scary however phones in homes were rare in those days and it was often the police that delivered important messages.

The MacGreggor Cottages where I lived in at the time.
Source 
http://www.tamworthherald.co.uk
1949 saw the beginning of the NHS (The National Health Service in England) and in those days’ children weren’t allowed to have any visitors. Remember, I was only 6 years old and while I was still in Tamworth my mum and dad were able to wave to me through the window relatively easily but when I moved to West Bromwich my mum would have to make the 28-mile journey by bus. She would come every week to the hospital and come up as far as the ward doors and even though they wouldn’t let her in she still did this every week without fail. She was allowed to bring me sweets and fruit etc. which she always did however this had to be shared out among the whole ward. Food at the time was still scarce and that type of food was even scarcer although I did manage get some of it. This went on until I’d been in hospital, probably 9 months, but by this time my mum who was feisty had well and truly had enough. This particular day she said to my dad ‘I’m going to go and see our Elaine and I’m not coming home today until I’ve seen her’. So she came over to the hospital on the bus and went straight to see the matron and told her that she wanted to see her daughter who she hadn’t seen for 9 months and that she wasn’t leaving until she saw me. The matron was very understanding and bought my mum to see me on the ward. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing my mum walk down that ward. There was a little boy in the bed opposite and I remember saying ‘shut up - my mums here’ (in an excited tone), I hadn’t forgotten her and it was a wonderful reunion.

Although my parents and friends were not allowed to visit, there was one person they couldn’t stop and that was my pastor, he was lovely, I loved him dearly. Every week he made the journey on his motorcycle to visit me. His name was Ernie Harford but I called him Uncle Ernie. He’d come and keep me in touch with home: he’d tell me stories about Jesus; update me on my dog Chappie (who was and old English Sheep dog), tell me what was going on in the church; tell me what my family was doing etc; and so through him I was in touch with home - what a ministry. A little child of six wasn’t unimportant to him and I really thank God for him. He was one of the good folk in my life! He wasn’t just a Christian, I could see God in his life and in the life of his wife, what a lovely couple. I believe they are now amongst the cloud of witnesses that are now cheering me on saying ‘come on Elaine keep running the race’. Hebrews 12:1 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith’ (Amplified Version).

After 10 months I came out of hospital looking like a pincushion. I’d had that many injections and it wasn’t the sort of injections that you get today; it was the big long needles with glass syringes because that’s the way that penicillin was given. Penicillin was relatively new when I was in hospital and very, very painful when the injections were given. I used to cry when I saw the nurse coming up the ward to give me the injection because I knew I was going to be in pain for a long time afterwards.

As I’ve said before my pastor (Uncle Ernie) had time for me; just like Jesus had time for the children as we see in Luke 18:15–17 ‘Now they were also bringing their babies to Him, so that He would touch and bless them, and when the disciples noticed it, they began reprimanding them. But Jesus called them to Himself, saying [to the apostles], 'Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all’. (Amplified Version).

I wonder what it would have been like in bible times to have sat on Jesus’ knee? He would have had the little children on His knee as they surrounded Him: He loved the children and He told them stories - as well the adults. Children were there every time the people met together! Imagine what sort of impression that would have made on the children. What a role model! I was also thinking of the little boy who gave his loaves and fish in John 6:9; he must have been watching Jesus, he knew who Jesus was, he’d probably seen some of the miracles Jesus performed and yet this man who he admired was asking for his lunch. What a surprise that must have been! How blessed he must have been when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish and fed the five thousand (John 6:1-14). After witnessing that miracle I would think that that little boy would have grown up to follow Jesus! Jesus’s life and example influenced and continues to influence others and it is worth remembering that the things that we do, and the things that we say, also influence others. I believe that we should ‘suffer the little children to come unto us’ (Luke 18:16 - KJV) our children are very, very, very, very special. They are part of the church today and they are the preachers, pastors and workers of tomorrow. We should nurture them, encourage them take time to speak to them and hopefully they may look back when they are grown up and just like I did with my pastor; count us as some of ‘the good folks in their lives’.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ‘Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing’. Amen.


Author: Elaine Roach

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Choices we make

In this world there are lots of temptations but praise God, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we are told that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Source: all our lemmony thing
Every day when I wake up I am overwhelmed with God’s everlasting love for me (Jeremiah 31:3), God tells me that I am His child (John 1:12), He says that I am the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8), He also tells me that He has numbered every hair on my head (Luke12:7 & Matthew 13:30) and that He has my name is written in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:17). If all that is not enough God also tells me that He gave up everything He loved to gain my love (Romans 8:32). Just before Jesus Christ went back to His Father He promised us another incredible gift; the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the member of the Triune God that would come and convict us of our sin and give us the strength to overcome (John 16:7) Amen. God’s Amazing Grace and mercy is an undeserved gift. We know as born again Christians that when we repent of our sins and turn the other way we are forgiven and washed clean in the precious blood of Jesus Christ. However I always try to keep in mind that even though I am forgiven, the choices I make will have consequences. Not only do I break God's heart when I sin but I can potentially break the hearts of the innocent people who I love and who love me. 

Many years ago I knew a man who raped a thirteen year old young lady and as a result many people were seriously hurt. The victim was obviously hurt along with all of her family, the man’s wife, son, daughter, his mother, brothers, nieces, nephews and so on. When the court sentenced the man the attack was published in the newspapers and his brother who was only ten years old at the time was beaten with in an inch of his life when walking home from school. Another innocent victim was the perpetrator’s mother who had her house set on fire. The young victim needed years of psychological help to try and overcome the rape. The list of the innocent who were hurt is endless as is the list of those who are still hurting, 35 years later. I appreciate that the example I have chosen is extreme but the fact remains that sin in our lives can often hurt innocent people. This is why I live my life with the bible as my book of instructions and I stay in communication with God for every choice I make. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’, Amen.

Source: Redeeming God
There are many examples in the bible of incredible characters who’s lives were a real blessing to others (some are mentioned in Hebrews 11) but for the nature of this article we will be considering just a few of the characters who’s choices led to innocent people suffering because of selfishness. There is King David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). King David paid a high price for his sin with Basheba and for murdering her husband. We know that King David repented and prayed to God for forgiveness in Psalm 51:4; ‘Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight’. King David was forgiven by God however there was still devastating consequences because of the choices he made.

King David’s son Soloman became King after his father and was blessed with incredible wisdom by God (1 Kings 4:30). In the book of Proverbs Soloman constantly talks about the immoral woman and warns to stay away from her; yet he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 3:11). We know that many of the marriages were for political gain but the wives still led Soloman to worship their gods and as we know the consequence of this was that after Solomon’s death the Kingdom of Isreal was divided.

Elisha’s servant (Gehazi) in 2 Kings 5:27 is another example. Gehazi’s greed meant that not only himself but his descendants would have leprosy. We can even go back as far as Adam and Eve and the consequences to the whole human race, because of their choice to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6). Jonah is another example of how disobedient sin put the lives of others at risk, on the boat to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). The list can go on and on.

Dear brothers and sisters we are in a spiritual war and we need to keep the full armour of God on to help us make Godly choices that bless the lives of others (Ephesian 6:10-18). The pastor of our church continually reminds us to never take the armour off. If we let our guard down the enemy is waiting to attack, he roams around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). In this world there are lots of temptations but praise God, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we are told that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). In our weakness God will be our strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). Amen. We are the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13) and I refuse by God’s grace to shrink back  (Hebrews 10:39). I am in a war and I intend to fight.

Father God your Word tells me that your beloved Son is coming back for his spotless bride like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2) and I pray that your Bride will be ready for the Bridegroom’s return. Help me to always have the oil in my lamp (Matthew 25:1-13) with the full armour of God to protect me (Ephesians 6:10-17). Holy Spirit help me to never be tempted by anything the enemy throws at me and to smash any selfishness every single day of my life. When Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness He used the Word of God against the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11), let me have the Word of God ready on my lips always. Help me to never forget that Jesus has already defeated satan, He has won the victory and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for me (Romans 8:34). Amen.

If I am persecuted then please let it be for living a holy, righteous life and for your beloved Son’s name (Matthew 5:16). Help me Father God to rejoice when I suffer for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ just like the disciples did in Acts 5:41. Please God let my life be a good example to others, a light in this darkened world I pray Amen. Isaiah 6:8 ‘Here I am Lord’.


Author: Christina O’Neill  

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches

‘if we are not willing to live the Bible and to take notice and to follow what it says, then as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 13:1 when talking about love, we are 'only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.'

Source: Devos and Dumplings 
I recently delivered a series of talks from the book of Revelation on the letters to the seven Churches found in Chapters 2&3. As I studied and preached on them a number of things struck me, however I would like to focus on just four things in this article.

Firstly, you will notice that every letter starts with; 'These are the words of' and then goes on to give a Name or description of Jesus. This leaves the reader with no doubt as to who it is that is sending the letters to the Churches. Secondly, these letters were not sent to the secular society, but to the Churches for those who have confessed to be followers of Christ, 'Christians,' who should have been living in accordance with the scriptures. Thirdly, at the end of every letter we are told to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches; ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’. This indicates that God is telling us in the Church today, to listen and understand what is written in these letters. For God to make this statement at the end of each letter must mean it is important that we take notice.

Source:The overlooked Truth
You see, we could read the Bible from cover to cover and know it inside out, we may be able to quote any scripture from any part of the Bible, and this may lead people to think how incredibly clever or holy we are. However, even if we could do all this and more, if we are not willing to live the Bible and to take notice and to follow what it says, then as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 13:1 when talking about love, we are 'only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.' Being able to know and quote the bible without living it, is in my opinion simply a statement of religiosity and void of any power or authority. God knows and searches our hearts and minds. Revelation 2:23 'Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.'

Fourthly, and the thing that struck me the most, is the incredible promises for those who do 'listen' and 'understand' what the Spirit is saying to the churches and are 'victorious'. So, let’s look at those promises, they are as follows:

Revelation 2:7 (Ephesus) ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God'.

Revelation 2:10-11 (Smyrna) ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Revelation 2:17 (Pergamum) ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it’.

Revelation 2:26-28 (Thyatira) ‘To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron sceptre and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Revelation 3:4-6 (Sardis) ‘Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Revelation 3:12-13 (Philadelphia)The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Revelation 3:20-22 (Laodicea) ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

I hope you have noticed an incredibly important statement that is repeated in every single promise. That these are for 'The one who is VICTORIOUS’. Seriously, why would anyone not want these promises? Why would we not want to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, and to do it? If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour then these promises ARE yours, they ARE mine and all we have to do is obey the will of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for us. We need to run the race to the end and be found 'victorious’. As Paul puts it in his letter in 1 Corinthians 9:24 'Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize’. After all, if Jesus said to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane ‘Yet not as I will, but as You will’ (Matthew 26:39) and ‘May Your will be done’ (Matthew 26:42) and then went to the cross for us, how much more should we say 'Father in Heaven not my will, but Yours be done’, and then obey His Word.

Revelation 1:2-3 says 'is the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near’. The time is near, and we need to stop messing about and walk as 'Bond Servants of Christ’ who are in complete surrender to Him and His will. I actually cannot think of a better way to live, or another way to be 'Victorious’.

My prayer is that each of us has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, and that we take it to heart and respond to it. Don't let anyone stop you from obeying the truth. Galatians 5:7 'You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?' Let's ensure that we all finish the race.

Let me now finish with by repeating the final promise in the letters: Revelation 3:20-22 (Laodicea) ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is VICTORIOUS, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was VICTORIOUS and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

May we all sit with Him on His throne. God bless.


Author: Kevin Hunt

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Joy of Salvation

Have you not worked out that the joy of salvation is everlasting eternity? In whom will you compare your relationship with Jesus Christ, who is He, what is He to you?

Source: Christian Faithbook
A Divine Heavenly warning is given to us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5; ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people’. Does this sound familiar? Does this describe the very World we are living in today? If the answer is yes, then surely we should be examining ourselves and asking some very serious questions. Try asking yourself; ‘where is Christ in your life and where is God within your heart? How do you see God and how does God see you? what excites you and what excites God concerning you? How do you regard love, intimacy, tenderness, mercy, care, security, success and affection? What is your knowledge of the Creator within His personal name Jehovah, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit’?

Your honest answers to the questions above will determine where you are in your walk with God. The Word of God teaches us to live unselfishly and to do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12). We are also asked to forgive one another using the eternal gifts of Mercy, Love and Grace and Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:12 ‘forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us’. Jesus also teaches us in Matthew 5:44 to ‘love your enemies’. The Word of God says that we are the light of the World, our good deeds will praise our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:14-16). Does our life point the way to the Messiah who sits at the right hand of his glorious Father the Majesty of love and Grace?

Source: myheartfortheking
Who then is the Jesus Christ in your heart? Who do you say that He is?’ (Matthew 16:15-17). Do you love Jesus Christ for who He is or for what He does?’ In Job 42:2, Job came to acknowledge God for who He is; ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted’. Have you worked out that the joy of salvation is everlasting eternity?

A biblical prophecy – God Almighty promised to those who believe in Him without a shadow of doubt, and for those who faithfully love Him with loyalty; Proverbs 8:17 ‘I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me, that He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh in these last days; (Acts 2:17-21). Prayer – Heavenly Father, bless us to know you, within our loving amazing most wonderful, most Gracious Bridegroom who we love and who died for us. Through the eternal Spirit of your heart, give us within these readings and teachings your divine heavenly wisdom, knowledge and understanding; Isaiah 11:2 ‘The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD’. Holy Spirit in thy grace we ask that you will empower the lost, the weary, the needy, the orphans, the widows, the sick, the bereaved, those with special needs, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the poor, the hungry, the prisoners, the children, the elderly, the deaf, the blind, the politicians and the rich and famous by giving them the living water to drink so that they may never be thirsty again (John 4:10-15). Amen.

John 3:16-17 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal, Lord and Saviour, then time is short because we are in the ‘last days’ as mentioned in 2 Timothy at the beginning of this article. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and tell Him that you no longer want to deny your salvation and for Him to show you how to stop sinning and to follow him and His ways for the rest of your life.

Ecclesiasties 3:11 ‘…He has also set eternity in the human heart…’. Amen.


Author: Errol Gibbs

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

There is Power in the Name of Jesus

If we could fully comprehend the amazing power we have in Jesus it would transform our minds, our thinking, our relationships. He is the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end.

Source: Sharefaith
I am sure at some point in life I am not the only person to have witnessed non-Christians and sometimes even people who are actively against any faith, turn to prayer/God in times of great difficulty, whether it be praying themselves or asking someone to pray for them. These people may be in a state of total desperation but non-the less, I have witnessed non-believing people turn to God. Yet often, even as believers we can be quick to forget the power we possess, the miracles that can happen and the chains that can be broken in the name of Jesus. As the word tells us in John 14:14 ‘if you ask anything in my name, I will do it’.

I was speaking with my Pastor recently and whilst at a prayer meeting earlier in the week he explained that had been told about a lady who before giving her life to the Lord was a witch and practiced witchcraft. She told the Pastor that she could walk into a room and know straight away who was a Christian. She went onto say that she never felt intimidated or threatened because everywhere she went Christians that she met never actually understood the power they had in Jesus. Wow; even the demonic know the power we possess as children of God yet so often we doubt or don’t claim it! Believers (followers of Jesus of the cross) MUST know and operate in authority. Jesus gave his disciples power and authority over all devils. Matthew 10:1 ‘Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness'.

Source: Egos & Buffaloes
If we could fully comprehend the amazing power we have in Jesus it would transform our minds, our thinking, our relationships. He is the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end; Romans 8:31 ‘If God is for us, who can be against us’. So often as humans, with all our frailties and weaknesses, we fall short and in life we try to handle things our own way because we want to fix things a certain way. Despite this we should never forget that we are living with a God who is the Lion of Judah, fighting our battles, we should constantly remind ourselves that God is in control, we have power in Him, we need to trust and know that no matter how tough life gets, rest assured that God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us; Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.

In a worldly sense, we appear to be powerless but how amazing that, more importantly, in the spiritual sense we are so powerful and that in His Name we can overcome anything; Romans 8:37 ‘we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’. The worship song I have chosen for this blog is so powerful. Try worshiping and praying the words ‘there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain’, and allow the power of Jesus into your situations and watch the chains fall.

Remember dear brothers or sisters, God loves you with an unending, unfailing, agape love. He formed you in your mother’s womb and you are the apple of His eye. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is the Lion of Judah who is with you fighting your battles. Trust in him wholly and stand firm, claim and trust the power you possess in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Author: Joleana O’Neill

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Do we miss the chance to love?

The consequences of doing the right thing for Jesus, against the odds, or against worldly thoughts, attitudes or actions can have eternal value and can impact and change lives forever.

Source:Biblia.com
Two believers in Christ were discussing an issue for which both had different opinions. The older of the two seemed smug as he wielded scriptures like a weapon, chopping away at the things he saw as wrong in the other's life. The younger believer just seemed to be weary of the lecture, weary of the other person and discouraged. As the exchange drew to a close the older man commented on the other's dis-interest; 'you used to be so eager', then he abruptly stopped and said 'I don't know what it is you want'. The younger man replied; 'you missed the chance to love me. In all of the time you have known me, what has seemed to matter the most to you is pointing out what you think is wrong about me!' He went onto to say 'You asked what it is I want, well, I want to see Jesus in you and through you'. Have there been people that we have missed the chance to show love to? Can people see Jesus in us? These are good questions to challenge ourselves with because showing love is much more effective that giving a lecture; John 13:34 'A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another' and 1 Corinthians 13:1 'If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal'.

I can remember one occasion where I witnessed the love of Christ in action. It was a cold wet Saturday afternoon on a muddy football pitch. My son was the manager of a Christian football team, however most of the young men in the team were not Christians but it was a good outreach activity. The team were doing very well and were about to play an important quarter final cup game, which they had all been talking about for weeks. On the side of the pitch there was a young man named John, who was going through a broken relationship which he was really struggling with. He had a very difficult and problematic childhood, most of which had been spent in children's homes. He had recently attempted suicide and had just been released from hospital. I can remember how broken he looked as he stood there with a vacant, lost expression on his face. John was part of the team but not one of the regular players, however all of the other players, even the 'tougher' ones were sad to see him in such a bad place.

Source: The Royal Parks
At half time the team were losing 1-0 and my son (the manager) made the decision to bring John on as a substitute at the expense of one of the better players.  Even though the decision would have reduced the chance of the team winning the other players were so compassionate about John's situation, not a single one of them complained. Even though the team were arguably a collection of 'rough diamonds', helping John was all that mattered to them; Proverbs 3:27 'Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act'. The players would pass the ball to John at every opportunity, the game itself no longer seemed to have any importance however a miracle was about to happen. The ball was passed to John near the half way line who subsequently, with all his might kicked the ball toward the goal. Everyone watched in amazement as the ball flew past the goalkeeper and right into the back of the net. It was one of the most amazing goals I had ever seen. It seemed as if the angels had guided the ball into the net. John was elated with joy and the players made such a fuss of him, not just during the game but for many weeks and months after.

John had walked onto the pitch that day as a broken man and walked off the pitch at the end of the match as a completely different person. The love and compassion shown by his team-mates was exactly what he needed to re-focus and to snap himself out of his depression. Following this life changing event in his life John started to turn his life around, worked hard and has been happily married for a few years to a lovely young woman who gives him the love he has always needed. John and his wife recently celebrated the birth of their first child, a beautiful baby boy.  Significantly, they are both seeking to know more about Jesus Christ and have been attending church. Praise God.

John’s life turned around as a result of a football match on a muddy football pitch on a cold wet Saturday afternoon, where the real winner wasn’t the team who scored the most goals, or who won the 'man of the match' award, no, the real winner here was love; Galatians 6:10 'Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers' and Philippians 2:3-4 'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

The consequences of doing the right thing for Jesus, against the odds, or against worldly thoughts, attitudes or actions can have eternal value and as we have seen, can impact and change lives forever. On the other hand we can easily miss opportunities to put love (God's love) into action and never know what might have been.  

Prayer – Father God in the name of Jesus and through the Holy Sprit we give you all the Glory, all the Honour, all the Worship and all the Praise.  We thank you that through your unconditional love for us you gave us your Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins so that we may be reconciled with you in eternity.  Father we pray for an overflowing of love and compassion for those who you put into our lives and those who cross our paths every single day. We pray that you use us as a vessel of your love so that people will see and feel your love in us. May lives be changed forever as we walk in obedience and aspire to follow the ultimate example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


Author: Eileen Greaves

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